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Synopsis

Bjørn Hansen, a respectable town treasurer, has just turned fifty and is horrified by the thought that chance has ruled his life. Eighteen years ago he left his wife and their two-year-old son for his mistress, who persuaded him to start afresh in a small, provincial town and to dabble in amateur dramatics. In time that relationship also faded, and after four years of living alone Bjørn contemplates an extraordinary course of action that will change his life for ever.

He finds a fellow conspirator in Dr Schiøtz, who has a secret of his own and offers to help Bjørn carry his preposterous and dangerous plan through to its logical conclusion. However, the sudden reappearance of his son both fills Bjørn with new hope and complicates matters. The desire to gamble with his comfortable existence proves irresistible, however, taking him to Vilnius in Lithuania, where very soon he cannot tell whether he's tangled up in a game or reality.

Novel 11, Book 18, for which Dag Solstad received the Norwegian Critics' Prize for Literature, is an uncompromising and concentrated existential novel that accommodates all of the author's fundamental themes.

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